Shooting along Taxiway Juliet (at the breakneck speed of 30mph)
When I arrived, those sneaky newts were nowhere to be seen, but it looked as if they might easily able be to climb out of the shallow grating. However, after checking some open drains, we did find a few lost-looking toads and newts...
Smooth Newts (Lissotriton vulgaris), fortunately rescued in time
This year, I returned with back-up in the form of Barry, Cici and Aidan of the Sussex Amphibians and Reptiles Group (SxARG). Another 'tools of the trade' pass for more odd equipment (nets, buckets, metal plates, plus a sizeable roll of Enkamat plastic mesh), back through the airside security gate and this time a fire service escort over to the training grounds...
Fishing for amphibians in the separation tank
A pair of Common Toads (Bufo bufo)
Smooth Newts (Lissotriton vulgaris)
We managed to fish out around 11 newts, 2 toads and 2 frogs which were already swimming around in the seperation tank. Barry and Aidan then installed the specially designed drain ladders (weighted plastic mesh), enabling any other trapped amphibians to climb out under their own volition.
Laying the Enkamat lining
Steep, but climbable by most small amphibians
Released back into the nearby pond
Many thanks to Simon, Ryan, Jules and the rest of the fire team for giving Gawick's amphibians a leg up, and thanks to Cici for her photos. Find out more about the use of amphibian ladders in this article on the Sussex ARG page.